Unclaimed funds recovered by schools, WNYT employees

Posted at: 02/27/2013 6:04 PM
Updated at: 02/28/2013 10:43 AM
By: Beth Wurtmann

ALBANY - When we went looking for money that's been lost, we didn't have to look far. Discovering that some employees right here at NewsChannel 13 had cash coming they didn't know about. Like Bob Kovachick.

Beth: Do you wanna know how much?
Bob: How much?
Beth: 50 dollars
Bob: 50 dollars! Yes! I can - fill up my gas tank! Excellent!

50 bucks waiting for Bob at the State Comptroller's Office of Unclaimed Funds. Where a total of 12 billion dollars from old bank accounts, utility deposits, insurance dividends, and other places is just WAITING to be reunited with organizations, and individuals.

Like NewsChannel 13 engineer John Bauchiero.

Beth: We learned that you have $2,039 dollars coming.
John: that's great. Wow!

Over 2000 dollars in life insurance funds John never knew about. All because notices went to a very old address.  

"In this day and age of people moving around so much, the banks are trying to keep track of where people are - you lose contact," said Lawrence Schantz, Director of the Office of Unclaimed Funds.

Schantz has the lucky job of passing out the funds, but only after residents and businesses make the effort to find it through a link at the Comptroller's website.

"Every dollar counts in this day and age,"he emphasized.

It certainly counts for the State's financially scrapped schools. So the Comptroller's office worked with us to deliver more good news.

"Hi Mr Hogan. On behalf of Comptroller DiNapoli I'd like to inform you that the school district has $1,520 in unclaimed funds," said Schantz over speaker phone.

"Well actually we would appreciate that very much," said Bill Hogan, Assistant Superintendent for Business Affairs at the Albany City School District.

Over 1500 dollars for the Albany City School District, from old vendor checks and insurance refunds. "Lost" and now found.

In fact the Albany district makes a habit of checking with the Comptroller's Office. Last year getting over 29,000 in old school taxes, sent to the wrong post office box.

"Especially now in budget season and we're looking into multimillion dollars cuts again, so one thing went the other way, that's great, we'll take it. Gives us a little smile for that day and go on," Hogan said.

"I'd like to inform you that you have $1799 dollars in unclaimed funds with this office for the school district," Schantz announced on speaker phone at another district.

"Well that's outstanding - that's great," said Dr. Alan McCartney, Superintendent at the Ravena Coeymans Selkirk School District.

$1799 dollars for the RCS, from telephone service refunds mailed years ago to the wrong address. Now - enough to pay for computers, books or repairs.

"That's a really nice thing because that's $1700 the taxpayers don't have to come up with," he said.

Bottom line: no matter how much, it could be cash in your pocket, you weren't expecting. Benita Zahn found out she's owed about 30 dollars from her father's estate.

"I think you have to check. I do. I was surprised that I'd miss this one but you have to check because you'd never know," Zahn said.